Angel Haze sounds like a rapper, but she feels like a one-woman punk band. Towards the end of her recent frenetic performance opening for MIA at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Haze jumped into the audience. She was invisible except for the strobe of cell phones and camera flashes that followed her from one side of the crowd to the other, her powerful staccato booming through the waves of fans rocking out to her words. Haze may be young and relatively new to the game, but she has an insanely smart literary mind and name drops both queer theorists and rappers in the same breath. I spoke with the talented Detroit-bred rapper about poetry, fashion, and finding her voice in the industry.
In the past you’ve described yourself as the “voice to the voiceless.” Who are the voiceless and how do you feel about the responsibility that comes with being their voice?
The voiceless can’t speak for themselves for whatever reason. I speak the truth, you know. I’m truly honored to be in a position to share my story with so many people.
Unlike a lot of young rappers, you’re an incredibly skilled lyricist. How did you begin writing songs?
I’ve always been a writer. I used to write a lot of poetry—I still write poetry—but I started getting into rap so I turned some of my poems into raps.
Who are some of your favorite poets?
Andrea Gibson and Joshua Bennett. They’re both amazing. So many people though. I’m an incredibly avid reader. I read all the fucking time.
What are you reading right now?
Right now… a few books, but mainly Ostrich by Matt Greene.
So you’re writing poems and you want to rap. How did you learn the craft?
I studied! I’m a complete autodidact. I read every single post on forums. I listened to everything I could. I practiced. It’s just like anything else. I wanted to be good.
Do you feel connected to the queer rap community like Mykki Blanco, LE1F, Katey Red, etc.?
I don’t consider myself part of that community. I don’t know a lot about that music. Because of my [religious] background I didn’t really start listening to music until I was 16. I mean, also, I know I have straight privilege because of the way I look. But at the same time, I love a fucking movement. I want to start a movement.
How do you feel about opening for MIA?
They called me up and asked if I wanted to do the show. I was like, “yes, of course.” MIA is the best. I love her.
Lastly, what’s your go-to uniform? What do you wear to face the world?
This. [Shows me her Instagram:] I’m wearing orange today, but normally it’s head to toe black. I’m a goth.
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